Saturday, 25 June 2011

Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

The historic town of Mandi, Himachal Pradesh is built along the banks of the river Beas. It has long been an important commercial centre and the sage Mandva is said to have meditated here. This one time capital of the princely state of Mandi is a fast developing town that still retains much of its original charm and character. Today, it is a district headquarters. Mandi is renowned for its 81 old stone temples and their enormous range of fine carving, it is often called the 'Varanasi of the Hills'. The town has remains of old palaces and notable examples of 'colonial' architecture. The temples of Bhutnath, Trilokinath, Panchvaktra and Shyamakali are among the more famous ones. The week long international Shivratri fair in Mandi is the major attraction of the area every year. In the year 2011 the fair was celebrated from 3rd-9th March. In the fair the activities like cultural programmes in the evenings, exhibitions, sports etc. are the major attractions for the tourists as well as locals.

Pandoh Fall, Mandi

Punchvaktr (Five Headed Ling) Shiva Temple

Hanogi Mata Temple, Mandi

Triloki Nath Temple

Panchvaktra Temple

Pangna Fort

Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh

Dalhousie is known as the gateway to the Chamba Valley. It was named after Lord Dalhousie, the then Viceroy of India, who established this town in 1854. This place provides stunning views of plains and snow-capped mountainous ranges. It is situated towards the western edge of the hills and east of River Ravi in Himachal Pradesh. Old colonial-era buildings, low roofed stalls and hotels dot the town while paths and treks on slopes with alpine vegetation are excellent for short strolls. Gifted with natural beauty, Dalhousie attracts many tourists every year. Its natural surroundings and tourist attractions have rapidly increased travel and tourism here.

The lingering old-world charm of colonial era reminds us of the times when British took hold of the reins of this city from Raja of Chamba. Dalhousie is famous for its public schools. The evergreens here include huge pine trees, deodars, oaks and rhododendron plants. Its old churches from British Raj are worth a visit. Nestled between high mountains of Dhauladhar range and Pir Panjal Mountains of Kashmir to the north, plains of Punjab to the south and views of meandering River Ravi make Dalhousie an attractive tourist destination.

Places to See:

'Satdhara' or seven springs situated on the way to Panjpulla are reputed to have medicinal properties as its water contains 'mica', known as 'Gandhak' in the local language. It is a popular tourist attraction of Dalhousie and a must visit if you are traveling to this place.

Jandhri Ghat
Situated at an altitude of 2036 meters, the palace of erstwhile royalty of Chamba at Jandhri Ghat was the governing point for the rulers before Dalhousie went into the hands of British. There are a number of trophies that can be seen here. The streamlets and tall pine trees provide some beautiful picnic spots here.

Located at a distance of 2 kilometers from Dalhousie, Panjpulla or a memorial with five bridges is a popular tourist attraction. It has a natural tank and calming surroundings. There are several small natural pools here that are fed by perennial streams. It was built in the memory of Sardar Ajit Singh, the famous freedom fighter of India.

Bakrota Hills

Quite close to Dalhousie, the Bakrota Hills provides breathtaking views of snow-clad peaks and the walling circuit around the hill known as the 'Round' is a popular destination among locals.

St. Andrew's Church
Built in the year 1903, St. Andrew's Church is a popular tourist attraction in Dalhousie. It was constructed due to the efforts of Protestant Christians. The Church is located at a distance of approximately one and half km from the bus stand of Dalhousie. Though quite old, the building of the church is still in a very good condition.

St. Patrick's Church
St. Patrick's Church is situated in Baloon, falling under the area known as the Dalhousie Cantonment. It lies approximately two km from the bus stand and holds the distinction of being the largest church of the hill station. St. Patrick's Church dates back to the year 1909 and its main hall has a seating capacity of 300 persons. The funds for the construction of the Church were contributed by the officers and ranks of the British Army.

St. Francis Church

Situated on the Subhash Chowk, St. Francis Church is one of the prominent monuments of Dalhousie. Army officers as well as civilians contributed money for the construction of the church. Built in the year 1894, the church is being maintained by the Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar. Beautiful glass work and intricate stone work serve as some of the major attractions of the St. Francis Church. 


Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh

Kannauj District is an administrative district of Uttar Pradesh state in northern India, along the river Ganges. The historic town of Kannauj, northwest of Kanpur, is the administrative center.

Kannauj is a historic town that is situated on the banks of Ganges. The town has remained in prominence for most of the ancient and medieval period. The city rose to prominence during the reign of Harshavardhana who is counted among the most illustrious rulers in India. It was in the mid 7th century that Kannauj was named the capital city of Harshavardhana. The then kingdom of Harshavardhana included the entire region between the rivers Sutlej and Narmada and eastern Bengal. 

It again raised to prominence during 9th century when the city became an apple of discord for three kingdoms of the Peninsular India namely Pratihara, Palas and Rashtrakutas. A century long "Tripartite Struggle" followed that resulted in the complete dominion of Palas over the region east of Kannauj. In the 12th century, Kannauj again came in prominence after it was declared the capital of Jaichand. Jaichand was the king who helped Mohammed Ghori in finally vanquishing Pirthviraj Chauhan and Rajput rule from Delhi. The decisive battle was fought in the year 1192 in the wheat-fields of Tarain, in modern Haryana.

While all traces of this past have vanished, Kannauj is famous for its manufacture of essence (attar) used in perfumes. Though not much of the glorious past remains, the temple of Ajai Pal still exists.

Kannauj has a rich archeological and cultural heritage. Many Bronze age weapons and tools and large numbers of stone statues have been found here. The ancient names of this place, Kanyakubja, are found in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Puranas.

Amavasu founded a kingdom, the capital of which became Kanyakubja. Jahnu was such a powerful king that the river Ganges is said to have been named after him as Jahnaui. This region rose into great prominence during the Mahabharata period. Kampilya was the capital of South Panchala and the scene of the famous Svayamvara of Draupadi.

Panchala, the tenth in the list of the sixteen premier states (Mahajanpada) in the time of Mahavira and Buddha, was the region covered by the present districts of Bareilly, Badaun and Farrukhabad. This territory was annexed to the Nanda empire of Magadha about C.400 BC. Many coins found at Mathura, Kannauj, and in the Panchala region have been associated with the Mitra rulers. The area flourished between C.100 BC and C.200 AD Kannauj was known as Kangora or Kanogiza by the geographer, Ptolemy (C.140 AD).

Fa-hien, the Chinese pilgrim, visited Kannauj between 399 and 414 AD, during the reign of Chandragupta II, at a retreat at the Dragon-Shrine. Fa-hien observed, "This country is very productive and the people are flourishing and happy beyond compare. When men of other nations come, care is taken of all of them and they are provided with what they require". He noted the monolithic elephant pillar erected by Asoka at Sankisa.

Harivarman appears to have been the founder of the Maukhari dynasty of Kannauj. Harsha also advanced towards Kannauj. The Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, visiting Kannauj in 643 AD, found 100 Buddhist monasteries with more than 10,000 priests. He mentions Kah-Pi-Ta (Kapitha, identified with Sankisa) as the other important place of the district.

Between the eight and the tenth centuries, a tripartite struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic plains, with three empires—the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, the Pala Dynasty of Bengal and the Prathihara dynasty of Gujarat—annexing the seat of power at Kannauj for short periods of time.

Rajyapala was the ruler of Kannauj when Mahmud of Ghazni attacked India. After sacking Mathura, Mahmud proceeded towards Kannauj. In 1018 AD he encountered "a city which raised its head to the skies and which in strength and beauty might boast of being unrivalled."

An inscription of the Chalukya dynasty of Lata, dated 1050 AD, associates the Rashtrakuta Empire with Kannauj. Kannauj recovered a large measure of its old importance during 1114 to 1154. During the reign of the Chauhans (1170-1194 AD) Kannauj became powerful and was annexed to Delhi. Kannauj, as (Jaichand of Kannauj's capital) was the scene of Svayamvara of his daughter Samyogita, who was carried off by Prithviraj III. Mohammad Ghauri invaded India and killed Jaichand in 1193 AD.

Ghiyas ud din Balban, who then possessed the Delhi throne, (1268–87) marched towards this region and divided the whole area into a number of military commands. Although order was restored, the region was continually up in arms against imperial authority. Reinforced by the neighboring Chauhans and Solankis, the Rajputs of this area broke out in open rebellion. In 1394, with another regional rebellion afoot, the sultan conferred on Khwaja Jahan the title of Malik-ul-Sharq "and appointed him governor of Hindustan from Kannauj to Bihar devolving upon him full power." Malik-ul-Sharq died in 1399 and his adopted son, Mubarak Shah became the virtual ruler at Delhi and reached Kannauj.

In 1414, under the Sayyid dynasty in 1423, Mubarak Shah Sayyid marched to Kampil to suppress the Rajputs. Kannauj became a fief under the sovereignty of the Mughals. In 1527 Babar mobilised his forces to capture Chanderi but lost Kannauj and Shamsabad to the Afghans. Kannauj became a dependency of the rebels who found themselves at the head of Muslims and Rajputs. Humayan's continued occupation in the north gave the ambitious Sher Shah Suri a free hand to prosecute his designs in the east. It appears that immediately after the capture of Kannauj Sher Shah destroyed the old city and built a fort of burnt brick there "and on the spot of gaining victory he built a city Sher Sur." The Afghans were overthrown in 1855 and the power of the Mughals was once again established by Humayun, who had returned to India after 12 years; he died soon after, in January 1556, and was succeeded by his son Akbar the Great.


Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

Meerut is a metropolitan city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is an ancient city located 70 km northeast of the national capital New Delhi, and 453 km northwest of the state capital, Lucknow. It is a part of the National Capital Region of India. It is the second Largest city of National Capital Region of India after Delhi, the 16th largest metropolitan area in India and the 17th largest city in India. It is the second fastest developing city in Uttar Pradesh. It covers an area of about 172 km2. The total metropolitan area is 198 km2, which is the third largest in Uttar Pradesh after Lucknow and Kanpur.

The city may have derived its name from Maya Rashtra, the capital of the kingdom of Mandodari's father and Ravana's father-in-law,Mayasura. This name may have mutated to Mairashtra, Mai-dant-ka-khera, Mairaath and eventually Meerut.

According to another version Maya, a distinguished architect, got from king Yudhishther the land on which the city of Meerut now stands and he called this place Mayrashtra, a name which in course of time became shortened to Meerut. Tradition are so has it that the district formed part of the dominions of Mahipal, Gujjar king of Indraprashta and the word Meerut is associated with his name. It is also said that there was a group of maratha troops group in meerut, so the city was called maarath, which has now turned into meerut.

Meerut, with its imminent history and luxuriant picturesque backdrop, has a well-developed tourism sector.
Places to See:

Jain temples of Hastinapur

St. John's Church

Augarnath Temple

Jama Masjid

Martyr's Memorial (Shaheed Smarak)

Gandhi Bagh

Suraj Kund

Mansa Devi Temple

Bale Miyan ki Dargah

Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana


Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Nested on the banks of the eternal Ganga, Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh stands as one of North India’s major industrial centres with its own historical, religious and commercial importance. Believed to be founded by king Hindu Singh of the erstwhile state of Sachendi, Kanpur was originally known as `Kanhpur’. Historically.

Kanpur passed into British hands under the treaty of 1801 with Nawab Saadat Ali Khan of Awadh. This forms a turning point in the history of Kanpur. Soon Kanpur became one of the most important military station of British India. It was declared a district on 24th March 1803.

Kanpur's development is unclear until the 13th century. Although no reference to Kanpur is found in history, the history of two of its suburbs, Jajmau and Bithoor, can be traced back to legendary times. Bithoor is located about 20 km upstream from the city and is approximately 10 km from the IIT Kanpur Campus. Jajmau is about 8 km east of Kanpur city and is nearly 20 km downstream from the IIT Campus. According to Hindu mythology, just after creating the universe, Lord Brahma performed the Ashvamedh Yajna (a horse is released and escorted by armies, which engaged in battle anyone who impeded the horse's progress) at Bithoor (also known as Brahmavart) and established a shivalingam there. Another legendary site at Bithoor is the Valmiki Ashram, where the famous sage Valmiki is supposed to have written the Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana. According to this epic, queen Seeta, on being exiled by King Ramachandra of Ayodhya, spent her days in seclusion at the ashram bringing up her twin sons, Lava and Kush.

At Jajmau there are remains of an ancient fort, now surviving as a huge mound. Recent excavations on this mound indicate that the site is very ancient, perhaps dating back to the Vedic age. Popular legends state that the fort belonged to Yayati, a king of the ancient Chandravanshi race, the eighth in succession to Lord Brahma. The famous Siddhnath temple of Lord Shiva and the Siddha Devi temple at Jajmau belong to the Buddhist period. The place was once known as Siddhpuri. Now one museum is going to open in Jajmau named Jajmau Museum. The museum will contain the things of pre-mauryan period which are found in tila

At Shivrajpur, 20 km from the Kanpur Central Railway Station, there is an ancient temple built by Chandel Raja Sati Prasad in memory of his queen. This temple is supposed to have been built in a night and is situated on the banks of river Ganga. This temple is famous for its beautiful architectural work and its unique carving designs.

Gurjar Parihar rulers of Kannauj may have ruled this place for a significant part of history long before the beginning of Mughal era. Some historical accounts suggest Gurjara Pratihara emperor, Mihir Bhoja, has ruled in Kanpur since nearby Kannauj was the capital of Gurjar Parihar.
Places to see:

Dream World

Moti Jheel

Nanarao Park

Mahatma Gandhi Park a.k.a Katehri Bagh, Cantonment

Allen Forest Zoo

Radha-Krishna Mandir, or J K Temple

Bithoor, a center of Hindu pilgrimage

Kanpur Sangrahalaya

Massacre Ghat

Baradevi Temple, the oldest temple of kanpur

Moti Jheel

Sher shah suri talab

Gora Kabristan, an old graveyard of Britishers now managed by ASI

Kherepati Temple, temple of Lord Vishnu and Sheshnag

Anandeshwar Temple

Nanarao Fort, Bithur

Boodha Bargad (Banyan tree on which 144 Indian freedom fighters were hanged in  Indian Rebellion of 1857)...........

Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

Dharamsala is a city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh and is surrounded by dense coniferous forest consisting mainly of stately Deodars. The suburbs of the town includes -- McLeod Ganj, Bhagsu Nath, Forsyth Ganj, Naddi, Kotwali Bazaar (the main market of the town), Kaccheri Adda (government offices such as the court, police, post etc.), Dari, Ramnagar, Sidhpur and Sidhbari (where the Karmapa Lama is based).

The village of McLeod Ganj lying in the upper reaches is known worldwide for the presence of the Dalai Lama. On 29 April 1959, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama established the Tibetan exile administration in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie. In May 1960, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was moved to Dharamsala. Since then, the Dalai Lama along with his people have been residing in Dharamsala. Dharamsala over looks the plains and is surrounded by dense pine trees and Deodar forests. A nearby snowline with numerous streams and cool healthy atmosphere makes the surroundings very attractive. A busy bazaar town, Dharamsala has established itself as the travellers base camp, who come to explore the nearby mountains. The Kotwali Bazaar provides the entire colour and characteristic of a small town, which is mixed with the simple life style.

The colourful temple and Gompas, which reflect the culture of Tibet, adds attraction for the visitor. The Kangra museum gives an overview of the rich past of the region and on the other hand there are institutes that have been established to preserve the Tibetan art, cultures and traditions. 

Today, Dharamsala has become the synonymous to the Tibetan government in exile and the home of Tibetan leader Dalai Lama. Even if the Tibetan community dominates the town, still it has retained the colonial lifestyle and British fervour.

Places To See:

Gyote Ramoche Monastery

St. John'S Church In Wilderness

7-km upward from Dharamsala, between Forsyth Ganj and Mcleod Ganj lies the charming St. John's Church. It was built in 1852 and is dressed in grey stone with some fine Belgian stained glass windows donated by Lady Elgin. The church is popularly known as the church of St. John in Wilderness. 

Chamunda Devi Temple

Not far from Dharamsala is the famous temple of Chamunda Devi. It is an enchanting spot with glorious views of the mountains, the Baner Khud, Pathiar and Lahla forests. 15-km from Dharamsala a tiny village of Dadh on Palampur road is the famous temple dedicated to Goddess Chamunda Devi.

Maharana Pratap Sagar

Named in honour of the great patriot 'Maharana Pratap' (1572 - 97 AD), the Maharana Pratap Sagar was once known as the 'Pong Dam Reservoir'.

Norbulinka Institute

Just 4-kms from Dharamsala is Norbulinka. This place has heavy Japanese influence. The Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture was founded by the Department of Religion and Culture to preserve and promote Tibetan art and culture in exile

Nurpur Fort

Orginally known as Dhameri, 66-km from Dharamsala and 24-km from Pathankot, Nurpur Fort was renamed by the Emperor Jehangir, son of the Great Moghul Jalal-Ud-Din Mohammad Akbar. The fort is now in its ruins, but still has some finely carved reliefs. 

Tsug-Lag-Khang (Central Cathedral)

Though a plain and utilitarian substitute for its far more splendid namesake in Lhasa, also known as the Jokhang, the Tsug-Lag-Khang is nevertheless fascinating and peaceful. Situated opposite the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsug-Lag-Khang is known to the local Indians as the Main Temple. 


Situated just 13-kms away from Palampur, lies this dwelling place of artist S.Sobha Singh. It houses a gallery of some of his major works and a pottery center. 

Dal Lake

Surrounded by high and green Deodar trees is the lake, which fills a mountain bowl. Situated 11-kms away from the town, this lake is easily approachable by road and makes an enchanting and serene picnic spot. 


Just 11-km away from Dharamsala, located on the crest of a hill lie this attractive picnic spot, which presents a panoramic view of the Kangra valley and Dauladhar ranges.

Kunal Pathri

These are the rock temples from which the place derives its name. Kunal pathri is a 3 kms flat walk from Kotwali Bazaar. 

Lord Elgin's Memorial

After the honors of 1857, India's First War of independence, Queen Victoria assumed the title of Empress of India. Her Prime Minister, Lord Canning made the proclamation and the Governor General's title was raised to that of Viceroy of India.


Moodabidri, 23 kms from Venur described as Jaina Kashi, is known for the 18 bastis, the most famous of them being 'Savira Kambada Basti' (Basti with thousand pillars). Built in 1430 AD, this basti has beautiful monolith columns and priceless collection of jewel-studded metal images of Jain Tirthankaras. 

Namgyal Monastery

In 1575 Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama, officially founded a monastery, which later came to be known as Namgyal Dratsang (Victorious Monastery). Since its inception, the monastery has assisted the Dalai Lamas in their public religious activities for the welfare of Tibet.

Pong Lake Sanctuary

Pong Dam reservoir is 65-km from Panthankot and 115-km from Dharamsala on the Beas River. The Pong Dam Lake is significant for a wildlife sanctuary with wild life species like Nilgai, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Buar, Clawless Otter, and Leapord. The reservoir is developed on a large scale for promoting water sports for tourists.


Venur 30 kms from Dharamsala, is famous for the Gomateshwara statue built in 1605 AD by an Ajila Prince.

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